Robb Holland joins Compass360 Racing for World Challenge opener in St. Pete

Popular Denver, Colorado racer Robb Holland finished off the 2011 Pirelli World Challenge season with a third place in the championship, but that didn’t mean he had a ride for 2012. The problem was that the Volvo C30 program being run by K-Pax racing came to an end at the close of the season.

Earlier this week, Karl Thomson of Compass360 Racing announced that Holland would be returning to the Toronto based team to drive the #70 Civic at the season opening race in Florida. The St. Petersburg race is a support event for the Indycar season opener. While the deal is currently just for the one race, it sounds like there is a possibility that there might be more news soon.

Check out a gallery of Holland in action at the 2011 Mosport round of WC, along with the team press release after the jump.

(Toronto, ON) — Compass360 Racing (C360R) released details of their fourth driver for the season-opening round of the Pirelli World Challenge series in St. Petersburg, FL, with the announcement that Robb Holland will pilot the team’s #70 Honda Civic Si at the prestigious event, which also marks the start of the IndyCar season.

Holland, who finished third overall in last year’s Touring Car standings, will help anchor a strong line up for the defending champions that includes Todd Lamb, Ryan Winchester, and Shea Holbrook.

C360R Team Principal Karl Thomson was clearly happy with his new signing. “Robb drove for us a few years ago in Grand-Am and I’ve been working ever since to get him back in one of our cars. He had several great battles with Lawson Aschenbach (who won the championship) last year and really showed his strength as a driver. He has more experience around this tough St. Pete course than any other driver in the TC field and I think that will be a great asset for us as we begin the defense of our title.”

Holland was clearly excited to be reunited with last year’s champs. “With the Volvo C30 program coming to a close late in the year, I was scrambling to find a good ride as most seats had already been filled. C360R consistently runs one of the best and most professional teams in any series and I was flattered when they asked me to drive for them at St. Pete. I drove the Civic Si for them early in its development, and although it may not have the straight-line speed of the Speed3 or VW, I’m confident the package will be competitive as they have a good handle on how to make that car work. I spent a lot of time looking at it’s taillights last year, and now I’m really looking forward to the view from the drivers seat.”

Although Holland has only signed for the first round at St. Pete, Thomson is hoping to have him in the #70 car for the rest of the season. “Robb has proven to be an asset for all the teams he’s driven for and it’d be great to have him on board all season. We’ll be sitting down after St. Pete and seeing what we can work out for the long term. Clearly we want to have all four cars capable of winning races and podium finishes to get Honda another Manufacturer’s Championship in 2012.”

The 2012 Pirelli World Challenge presented by the SCCA schedule consists of 14 races over six weekends. Races will take place on a variety of circuits across the United States and Canada ranging from a street circuit in St. Petersburg, FL to the world renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California. The World Challenge season begins with a double-header race at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix with IndyCar, March 23-25. The event will be televised, taped-delayed, on NBC Sports.

News Source: C360R

Lapping Laguna with the Caddy boys

Andy Pilgrim lifts a wheel at Mosport earlier this season

All of you video gamers out there think you know the ins and outs of Laguna Seca but do you really? Crank the volume, choose full screen and prepare to be schooled by Cadillac Racing’s Andy Pilgrim and Johny O’Connell.

Video after the break

Tony Ave wins rain soaked Trans Am crash fest at Mosport

While the Trans Am cars sat on the mock grid, the World Challenge teams were circling Mosport International Raceway under a full course yellow. The reason? A damp track that deposited 5 cars into the tires between corners 9 and 10. Typical of Mosport’s weather patterns, the rain stopped and started a couple of times. As the TA cars made their way out on the track, the skies opened.

One quick lap behind the pace car and the field went green. For about 30 seconds.

Let’s think about this for a minute: big V8 horsepower, cold slick tires and pouring rain. A traditional start is a recipe for disaster. A disaster it was!

Ian Patterson, in his gorgeous new Gateway Racing Corvette, got a great start which moved him up to a point that he might have been able to challenge car builder Blaise Csida for 3rd spot. As they pack climbed the hill towards turn 2, the Jaguar of Trinidadian Daniel Ramoutarsingh pounced forward and then snapped to the right, directly in front of Patterson. The resulting mess claimed 4 cars out of a 13 car field.

Following a short red flag period while the carnage was removed and the track cleaned up, the race started again on a dry surface. Having qualified a full 2 seconds faster than off pole Blaise Csida, Tony Ave pretty much ran away from the rest of the pack, followed by Csida and Amy Ruman and that was the way it would remain until the checkered flag.

Just like the old days, when there were classes in the Trans Am series, there is now a second class. This class of only 2 cars was won by Texan Bob Stretch in the very cool 2010 Camaro bodied racer.

Ian Patterson's new Vette in qualifying on Saturday
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Official results

1. TA, (1) Tony Ave, Maiden, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette, 41.
2. TA, (2) Blaise Csida(R), Stouffville, Ontario, Chevrolet Corvette, 41, -14.961.
3. TA, (6) Amy Ruman, Kent, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 41, -1:02.249.
4. TA, (3) Simon Gregg, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 41, -1:16.614.
5. TA, (9) David Jans(R), Mundelein, Ill., Ford Mustang, 38, -3 laps.
6. TA2, (11) Bob Stretch(R), Arlington, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 37, -4 laps.
7. TA, (10) Jonathan Brett(R), Mt. Elgin, Ontario, Chevrolet Corvette, 36, -5 laps.
8. TA2, (13) Bill Prietzel(R), Hubertus, Wis., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 36, -5 laps.
9. TA, (12) Greg Clifton(R), Toronto, Ontario, Chevrolet Camaro, 28, Mech.
10. TA, (7) John Baucom, Charlotte, N.C., Ford Mustang, 26, Mech.
11. TA, (4) Daniel Ramoutarsingh, La Romain Trinidad, , Jaguar XKR, 0, Crash.
12. TA, (5) Ian Patterson(R), Petersburg, Ontario, Chevrolet Corvette, 0, Crash.
13. TA, (8) Elmer Shannon(R), San Francisco, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette, 0, Crash.
Time of race: 1 hours, 3 minutes, 07.255 seconds.
Average speed: 95.834 mph
Margin of victory: 14.961 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-41, #4 Tony Ave
Fastest race lap: #4 Tony Ave, 1:18.368 (112.959 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #4 Tony Ave, 1:15.952 (116.552 mph)

Check out Ian Patterson’s view of the first lap incident.

Mosport Victoria Day Speedfest heats up a rainy week!

Andy Pilgrim hauls ass in the EVIL CTS-V Coupe!

Day 1 of the Victoria Day Speedfest at Mosport has wound down and I’m having a chance to put together a few images to share with our readers. There is so much to talk about from today, but I’m too burnt out to get into all of it so I’ll just give you a few highlights.

K-Pax Racing has brought the new S-60 World Challenge GT racer out to play for the first time and it is nothing short of magnificent. They only have one car ready, so Randy Pobst is playing ambassador for the team this weekend while Alex Figge runs his new ride. K-Pax is also running a pair of C-30′s in the Touring class for Rob Holland and Canadian Aaron Povoledo, who won at Miller Motorsports Park a few weeks ago. In the second practice session today, Povoledo led the lap charts.

Long time friend of The Garage, Mike Skeen, dominated the Pirelli World Challenge GT class practices today, in the same Corvette that Ron Fellows won with in this race last year. Interesting to note that his fastest lap time was a 1:19.705 which was quicker than all but one of the Trans Am cars. In a production based car!

2010 Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship Touring Class champion, Anthony Rapone, is taking a break from the CCTC this weekend to compete in the World Challenge series. To give you an idea of the quality of talent and car prep in the CCTC, Rapone set the fastest pace in the morning practice session.

With 42 entries, the Pirelli World Challenge series promises to be an incredibly exciting field this weekend.

The reborn Trans Am series struggled to fill grids last season, sometimes having as few as 6 cars on the track. This weekend will see 13 cars competing. That may not seem huge, but it is almost twice as many cars as last year. Due to some fuel delivery issues, the TA cars have been short on track time so far. In afternoon practice today, Tony Ave was the class of the field, turning in a 1:17.785 which was far away from the second fastest car of Blaise Csida. Csida operates Gateway Racing which is based at Mosport, so he knows the track like few others. He is also known for not letting his competition know what he is capable of on his home track before the green flag drops, so it should be an exciting race!

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Andy Pilgrim hauls ass in the EVIL CTS-V Coupe!
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Mosport’s Victoria Day SpeedFest On Track In Two Weeks

Mosport press release

In just two weeks, Mosport International Raceway will kick off its 2011 season with the sights and sounds of thundering GT and Touring car racers on the Victoria Day SpeedFest Weekend, May 20-22.

Some of North America’s best road racing sedan championships – the Pirelli World Challenge Series, the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series, the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship, the classic Sundown Grand Prix endurance race into darkness and new to Mosport in 2011, the SCCA Pro Spec Racer Ford and SCCA Pro Formula Enterprises – take to the 3.96 km circuit for Mosport’s traditional holiday season-opener.

Headlining the three-day weekend is a Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader, with combined class races for GT, GTS and Touring cars. The “Sports Car Wars” entry list is full of popular brands such as Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Corvette, Honda, Mazda, Porsche, Viper, Volkswagen and Volvo. The 2010 GT Rookie of the Year Fred Roberts of Toronto, coming off an eighth place finish at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, placing him 11th in points, will have his work cut out for him as he battles against the brand new Cadillac CTS-V one-two punch of Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim. Roberts’ Viper teammate Jason Daskalos is coming off a win and currently sits third in the driver’s championship. Two-time defending American Le Mans Series GT champion and Porsche factory driver, Patrick Long will look to take back the points lead after missing the last race. Long got his 2011 campaign off to a hot start, winning the first two races of the year.

Road racing veteran and Mississauga native Aaron Povoledo is coming off a Touring class win in Utah and currently sits second in the drivers championship. Povoledo has joined the K-PAX Racing team this season and is competing in the new Volvo C30. He will be looking to use the momentum of his last race as he makes his return to Canada.

After returning to Mosport in 2009 following a six-year absence, the SCCA Trans-Am Series will continue their storied history at Mosport, which dates back to 1976. The Series has switched to a new three-class format this season (TA, T2 and T3). Defending champion Tony Ave is coming off a win in Round 2 at Miller and will be a race favourite in his Chevrolet Corvette. Gateway Racing’s Blaise Csida, who finished third at Mosport in 2010, will look to use his home track advantage to once again finish on the podium. Other drivers to keep an eye on will be RJ Lopez, Cliff Ebben and Simon Gregg.

The country’s top sedan road-racing series, the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship, makes its first of three season stops at Mosport boasting a 40-car field with several new teams and marques competing in Touring and Super Touring classes. This is a doubleheader weekend for the Championship.

New to Mosport in 2011, the SCCA Pro Spec Racer Ford for sports cars and the SCCA Pro Formula Enterprises for open-wheel racers will be running a doubleheader race weekend. Both series’ open their season on May 13-15 at Virginia International Raceway.

The Sundown Grand Prix endurance race-into-darkness on Saturday returns to SpeedFest for a seventh consecutive year. There will be GT and Touring cars competing for overall and class wins in the three-hour classic.

It wouldn’t be a Victoria Day weekend celebration without Mosport’s popular fireworks show scheduled for Saturday night after the Sundown GP.

The racing action starts Friday (May 20) with a full-day of practice for all six championships. Saturday (May 21) is a mix of practice and qualifying in the morning, followed by races for the SCCA Pro Formula Enterprises, Pirelli World Challenge, SCCA Pro Spec Racer Ford, Castrol Touring Car Championship and the Sundown Grand Prix. Sunday (May 22) morning opens with more qualifying and then races in Formula Enterprises, Spec Racer Ford, Castrol Touring, World Challenge and Trans-Am to close out the weekend.

The three-day weekend SuperTicket is just $50 until May 18 ($60 at the Gate). Single-day tickets are also available. Each ticket includes parking, access to the race team paddock, the Mosport Marketplace and admission to Mosport Speedway’s Saturday Night Stock Car season-opener at the half-mile paved oval located on the grounds. As with all Mosport events, children 12 and under are admitted for free when accompanied by a paid adult admission.

Camping is a popular part of the Mosport experience, with advanced general camping passes just $35 for the weekend when purchased before May 18 (tents or pop-up trailers). Advance RV passes are $55.

For those who would like to get closer to the action, the SpeedFest Corral offers a VIP hospitality package which includes a meet and greet with the drivers, race team tech sessions, an opportunity to drive their car on the track in a parade lap and a BBQ lunch on Sunday, all for just $100.